The Brooklyn Nets welcomed the Denver Nuggets to Barclay’s Center on Sunday for the second and final matchup between the teams this regular-season and lost 108-102. The regular-season series between the two teams ends tied at 1-1.
For the Nets, Mikal Bridges had 23 points while Nic Claxton had 19 points and eight rebounds. Cam Johnson had 14 points and Seth Curry had 12 points off the bench.
For the Nuggets, Michael Porter Jr. had 28 points and nine rebounds while Jamal Murray had 25 points and eight assists. Nikola Jokic had 22 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists and Aaron Gordon had 10 points.
In the first half, Denver made sure that this game went differently than the first meeting between the two teams. The Nuggets got out to a fast start in the first quarter as Jamal Murray scored 20 points and was one point short of matching Brooklyn’s score as a team. Things became physical in the second quarter as both teams began to match each other’s intensity. Mikal Bridges scored 11 points for the Nets, but it came on 3-of-11 shooting from the field.
In the second half, things continued to be physical as Denver continued to attack the glass and pick up offensive rebounds. Murray cooled off from his electric first quarter, but Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. started to pick up their offense in a huge way. Brooklyn made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter thanks to their bench, but it wasn’t enough as the Nets could not turn around their shooting when the moment came.
Here are your Nets player grades:
Spencer Dinwiddie: B+
Dinwiddie did a good job of shooting the ball in this one. He did not score much, but he was able to get to the basket on a few occasions and was able to finish strong at the rim. Dinwiddie was sensational passing the ball as he found his teammates for open shots over and over again. Dinwiddie used his drive-and-kick ability to the fullest as he found open shooters once he drew a second defender to the ball and even found Nic Claxton for lobs.
Mikal Bridges: B-
Bridges had a rough time shooting the ball in this game. He just wasn’t able to hit his mid-range jumpshot with the consistency that everyone is used to. He was able to make a good amount of his threes and get to the free-throw line, but turned the ball over a bit too much. Bridges seems to lose his balance a lot when he drives to the rim so it’ll be interesting to see what he looks like when he can improve that part of his game.
Cam Johnson: B
Johnson did not have his most efficient shooting game for the Nets. He had some success driving to the rim and scoring in the paint, but his three-point shot was off for the entire game. He did a good job of helping out on the glass and he was a menace on defense with the way that he was stealing the basketball. Johnson has not been shooting the ball in Brooklyn as well as he was in Phoenix, but it seems to be more of a rhythm issue as opposed to a shot selection problem.
Dorian Finney-Smith: C-
Finney-Smith did not shoot the ball well in this contest. Once again, he was unable to get anything going from three-point land and there were a few times where he was either stuffed at the rim or was heavily contested trying to drive the ball. He did a good job of rebounding the basketball, but his defense suffered as he had a hard time of guarding Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic.
Nic Claxton: A
Claxton had a great performance against the Denver Nuggets. He was awesome at finishing the rim and he was catching lobs for practically the entire game as it seems that no one on the Nuggets could jump with him. Claxton did a good job rebounding despite having to deal with Jokic for most of the game. Claxton’s defense was solid as usual, but he seemed to have issues with Jokic’s size as the game wore on.
Royce O'Neale: B+
O’Neale did a little bit of everything for the Nets in this one. He was a decent presence on the boards and he did a great job of distributing the basketball whenever he was able to find an opening or get by his man. O’Neale played some good defense in this one and he was part of Brooklyn making their push in the fourth quarter to get back into the game.
Joe Harris: C-
Harris did an okay job of shooting the ball against the Nuggets. He wasn’t able to get anything going from three-point land and that was a common theme for most of Brooklyn’s roster in this game.
Seth Curry: B
Curry did a great job of shooting the ball from three-point land and his shooting efficiency seemed to be a reverse of what it usually is. Normally, Curry has been better from the mid-range than from the three-point line, but against Denver, he was lights out shooting the three-ball. Curry’s shooting was big in the fourth quarter as Brooklyn made its push to try to win the game.
Cam Thomas: C-
Thomas had a rough time shooting the ball in this one. He could not get anything going from the mid-range or from the three-point line as it seemed that Denver made every shot he took contested. Thomas is one of the better creators on the team, but with his inconsistent playing time, it looks like it’s hard for him to generate a rhythm for the way that he plays. He was a +13 in plus/minus so it’s surprising that his poor shooting was not detrimental to the team’s success in terms of the fourth quarter.
Day'Ron Sharpe: B
Sharpe saw his first minutes in the fourth quarter as Jacque Vaughn was looking for a way to spark the team for a comeback bid. Sharpe did a good job of being aggressive on the offensive end and it led to him drawing some key fouls on Nikola Jokic. Sharpe did a good job on the glass despite having to deal with Jokic and he brought some energy to the court that seemed to spark Brooklyn in the fourth quarter.